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Can an NQT have unpaid leave to attend a friends wedding?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by poppy150, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. poppy150

    poppy150 New commenter

    I will be an NQT next year and one of my best friends is having a Thursday wedding?

    Would it be ok to ask for unpaid leave to attend? or would it cause a lot of problems for my NQT year. The wedding is in October.
  2. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    It depends on your school policy, but I'd say it's highly unlikely. Otherwise it risks a free for all on odd days during term time. family wedding, you might get a day but friend probably not.
    It wouldn't affect your NQT if you were given it - though I'd be very surprised if you did.
    I'm of the opinion that people who choose mid week weddings know that they can't always expect people to get the day off work.
    grumpydogwoman and ilovesooty like this.
  3. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    What @purplecarrot said.

    I'd think it would be highly unlikely you'd be allowed this unpaid leave other than possibly for a member of your immediate family.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    All you can do is ask nicely. Not only will there be the leave issue, but the school will need to pay for supply to cover your absence, and there will presumably be some impact on learning. The usual advice here is to take solutions, not problems, to the HT. Can you get colleagues to volunteer cover? Would you be prepared to offer some extra input sometime to balance your absence?
    I'd expect a HT to be mildly sympathetic for your brother or sister's wedding; much less so for someone else.
    badger_girl likes this.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @Skeoch has covered it all very clearly.

    Ask nicely, for only one day, and show how learning would not be affected .

    Best wishes

    badger_girl likes this.
  6. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I have worked for a variety of Heads, but I found most very understanding about some need for flexibility with the exception of one.

    I have had leave granted for:

    my brothers graduation - for that, I explained in the leave of absence form we have no other family as if we had, my mum and dad would have gone and I'd have gone to work, but that wasn't the case.

    a friend's wedding abroad - I was permitted to leave early to catch a flight.

    Taking my cat to the vet to be castrated - I had a PPA lesson 1 so was allowed to come in late! (The head did say he was tempted to deny me leave of absence in support of my cat!)

    A funeral, who wasn't a member of my immediate family.

    Various visits to doctors and clinics.

    All these span a 10 year career - they haven't been every week!

    People always say 'why should you be granted time away' - well, my answer would be because good teachers are always there when they don't need to be. In my last school, I must have clocked up at least a fortnight of unpaid work in after school and holiday revision sessions alone.

    If I was known for malingering it might be different but in my experience, most teachers aren't and feel very guilty when they are off.

    Of course, a head is within his or her right to say no, but if you have a good attendance record and politely ask I just don't see why that would be an issue. Life doesn't run on school holidays and weekends, and most heads are long enough in the tooth to know this.
    jarndyce and Flere-Imsaho like this.
  7. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    Can I just point out you say you'll be an nqt, but that's only under the assumption you'll secure a job for sept, not saying you won't or anything just that if you don't then you'll be on supply (I guess) so then you can go.

    Are you part of the groom or bride's party as an usher or bridesmaid? If so I think that is different to just being a guest.

    If you do secure a post then as others have said just ask nicely. It depends when it falls, like in a test week heads maybe less likely but if it's just before a half term they maybe more flexible.

    Hope it works out for you!
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I was granted leave to attend the funeral of a best friends father, however it was literally a few hours, I am a non teacher (in a support role in school) and I stated (and did) come in early and leave late to make up the hours!

    Although I understand costs are high and times are limited, those who host weekday weddings must accept not everyone will attend!

    Personally, (provided the wedding, your home and the school are all relatively close) I think sometimes people need to get out of the 'needing a whole day' mentality. If the wedding is at 2pm say, can't you work Periods 1 and 2? Or is the wedding is at 9am and the reception in the evening, what about working Periods 4-5? (OK, if the wedding is at 12pm you're stuffed on that idea!) Funerals might be different as the emotional feelings from it need a whole day (and often beyond) to cope with of course!

    If you would need it by all means ask - but as others have said propose colleagues who would willingly cover you! And be prepared for a 'NO,' some Heads are about as flexible as glass rods at room temperature!

    (Personally, I think perhaps there should be a 'personal issues' law that allows employees to take up to X days off a year for such things, a little contained flexibility might make the whole workforce happier and improve productivity and performance at work, just a thought Mr Cameron!)
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  9. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    In just about ten years of teaching, I have been granted leave twice for attending friend's weddings. I didn't play a pivotal role in either ceremony ( i.e. best man) and I requested unapid leave in two different schools. However, I was paid for the days. These are two very good friends and I would have been much aggrieved if I wasn't able to attend. All you can do is ask - it is at the HT's discretion. I am in total agreement with badger girl, this is life and as long as you aren't attending weddings every week (and you are a "good" teacher etc.) then this shouldn't be a big deal. Teachers are people too and we cannot expect our network of friends and family to be beholden to the school term. This is part of the argument for a work-life balance. I have known schools grant teacher-parents leave for their child's nativity etc. and other schools that don't: I know which I would rather work for (even though I don't have kids!) it speaks volumes about the way they treat and care about their staff.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, times have changed.

    That's the way of the world. It's clear from the experiences mentioned here that HTs DO permit people time off to do all sorts of things.

    I think I may have left at noon once in 33 years when my mother had a stroke. I just never thought to ask. My attitude was that we only have 195 days (190 with the pupils) to work. Clearly we work much harder than that but we have the flexibility to do the other work at a time and place of our choice. I just always felt I could give my employer those 195 days without looking for favours. Emergencies are different.

    But I'm a dinosaur. Those days are past.
    lizziescat likes this.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You can only ask. Take the advice offered above, but be prepared for it to be "No" and if it is, try to be as gracious as possible about it (because getting mardy won't help you).
  12. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    In days past I could just ask for time for various family things, I just had to ensure the lessons were covered; this was easily done in the faculty and just meant that if you covered for someone in this scenario then they owed you one. It worked because we were FRIENDS as well as colleagues. Now we have a blanket " do not ask for the off for anything except medical emergencies and funerals of close relatives" this for all staff, teaching and ancillary. In recent years I've seen people crying in the staff room after being refused time off for; graduations, funerals of spouse's relatives, children's prize giving , Xmas nativity plays.
    Noja and Flere-Imsaho like this.
  13. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Oops correction... Time off
  14. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I have known it happen in the past. The person in question was best man though. Like everyone says; you can ask, just don't expect.

    I would also consider how bothered you are about the wedding.... Can't you pop to the reception after school?
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  15. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Don't say "One of my best friends" when you ask. It makes it sound as though there are a string of weddings to attend. I'd also have a think that in a year even the most understanding of HTs is only going to give you one day off for something like this. Is this the event you want to use up that goodwill on?
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Morning, HT. My partner has organised a surprise weekend-break for me. We leave for Paris n Thursday evening.. You don't mind if I don't come in on Friday, do you?
  17. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    No, you wouldn't say that. You would apologise profusely, explain your partner evidently didn't understand that annual leave couldn't be taken in teaching (and you have now informed them firmly this will NOT happen again.) However, since it is booked and non refundable, would they consider granting unpaid leave as a one off?

    It really isn't as black and white as some make it out to be.

    Things were different once, but nowadays it's a very '24/7' society and it's just an unfortunate fact that occasionally important things, things that really matter - our friendships and families and our health and our children - will fall inside school hours.

    For most staff, a funeral, a wedding, a hospital appointment or graduation won't happen more than once or twice, a year. Although all the posts on here indicate otherwise, I haven't encountered any Head who wouldn't be prepared to at least grant unpaid leave!
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're right. I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say anything because I wouldn't be going.

    You only have to be at their disposal for 195 days out of 365. Everyone else typically does 235. Unless you work a 6-day week.

    If you can't sign up to the days the kids are actually IN the school then (as far as I'm concerned) you shouldn't be in the job. Emergencies are different. Funeral of a close relative. Hospital appointment. Wedding? No. If it's your son or daughter then they'll know better than to arrange it on a school day.

    Give an in inch and they'll take a mile.
  19. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Fortunately, I've never worked with a headteacher who doesn't recognise that saying goodbye to a friend is as important as family.

    Essentially, you're saying you would expect my disabled brother to have not gone to his graduation ceremony, even though he was desperate to go, because the ceremony didn't fall in a school holiday.

    Life doesn't stop and start according to a school holiday schedule.
  20. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    @badger_girl though your post is hypothetical, I can't believe that you feel that you would be justified in asking for time off for a holiday in an era where parents are fined for taking kids out of school.

    And people not knowing that teachers don't have optional annual leave...come on!

    Back to the issue: when I got married we considered a midweek day ( in holidays obvs) my OH best friend though may not have been able to come though due to work. We changed the date. Sorry, but if your presence was THAT important to the friend then they would have considered this.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.

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